With the college hockey season heating up, a few teams stand out as potential wild cards in a season marked by uncertainty while others hope to stay consistent in their last handful of series.
North Dakota’s (15-4-1) men’s hockey team holds on tight to the number one spot in USA Hockey’s weekly rankings, followed closely by Boston College (13-3-1) and Minnesota State (13-2-1) for the second week in a row.
The Minnesota Gophers swooped into the top ten with a pair of wins over Notre Dame. The Wisconsin Badgers (14-8-0), who swept Minnesota two weeks prior, are hot on their tails as they round out this week’s top five thanks to a series split with number six Michigan (11-7-0). All three teams are representative of the depth of talent in the Big Ten Conference this season with player ranked among the top in the nation such as Sampo Raanta (MN), Jack LaFontaine (MN), and Cole Caufield (UW).
Despite a rough start to the season due to COVID-19 and school guidelines, the Boston Terriers remain a team to watch heading into the final stretch of the college hockey season and could potentially be a dark horse come Hockey East playoffs.
The Terriers are currently ranked first in their conference with 23 points in 10 games and boast a 8-2-0 record, sweeping Vermont (1-7-2) in a two game series last weekend. Terrier defensemen and Nashville Predators draft pick David Farrance currently leads the nation in points per game with 2.33.
Western Michigan (8-11-3) also identified themselves as a potential contender in NCHC playoffs with a 4-0 shutout and 4-1 win over No. 8 Minnesota Duluth (12-7-2).
Two teams participating this season have yet to notch substantial wins. Air Force’s (1-9-1) only win this season came in overtime against Bentley (3-10-0) while Ferris State (1-17-1) hasn’t won a game against a DI opponent (exhibition win over Trine University’s DIII squad).
Notable games this week:
- Michigan vs. Ohio State: The two rivals face off Thursday and Friday, Feb. 18-19. Unlike in football, Michigan fans could actually see a win (or two) over OSU.
- Omaha vs. North Dakota: In a Friday-Saturday series, the No. 10 and No. 1 teams in the nation are set for a series of games.